Free English-Bemba Dictionary: A-M

english bemba dictionary cover image  500x822

english bemba dictionary cover image 500×822

Learning to speak Bemba language can be fun if you have some help. In this post we start our journey to populate an online English-Bemba Dictionary, in alphabetical order. The Bemba dictionary is not comprehensive but contains the more commonly used words.

 

If there are particular words you want to translate please feel free to leave a message below. If you speak Bemba and would like to participate, get in touch with us with suggestions about how you wish to participate.

Your comments and corrections are most welcome.

If you want to translate English to Bemba you can send in your word and we will do our best to include it in the Bemba dictionary. Or if you simply cannot wait until we get to the word you want to learn because it appears under the letter “Z” let us know and we will translate it for you.

Remember that we want to include all other Zambian languages here. So if you speak Lamba, Lozi, Tonga, Nyanja, Tumbuka, Chokwe, or any other Zambian language, you can start the ball rolling by sending in a few words at a time and we will add it to our database. You can translate Bemba or another language into English and vise versa.

The following table covers letters of the alphabet from A  to M

Click on a letter of the alphabet to get to the appropriate section of the English to Bemba dictionary:

A , BC, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M

 

N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z

(For Free English to Bemba Translation Service click here)

Coming soon: O – Z

 

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Click on a letter of the alphabet to get to the appropriate section of the English to Bemba dictionary:

A , BC, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M

N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z

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    • Terrence,
      Please feel free to send in suggestions of any particular things you would like covered in the lessons. I am in the process of structuring a course that will be available in the new year.

    • Voluntary-Ukuipelesha fye. (Umulimo wakubomba fye ukwabula ukucetekela amalipilo ayene yene) nangu cakuti kuti walipilwako kanono akakukutasha pafyo wabomba.

    • Voluntary- Ukuitendekela ukucita cimo ukwabula bambi ukukweba nangu ukupatikishiwa. Eg. Voluntary Counselling and Testing = Ukuitendekelako we mwine weka ukuya sambilila amano no kupimwa pa bulwele ukwabula ukulolela bambi ukukweba nangu ukukupatikisha.

  1. Hello,

    I would like to know how to say “Do not be afraid to go where it beckons you to go” in Bemba. I was told two different translations for this a long time ago and I would just like to get a second opinion to clarify. 1 -”Mwitina ukuya uko lilemisontelala ukuya” and 2- “Mwitina ukuya uko cilemusotelela ukuya “. Are either of these translations correct? Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Alyshia

    • Hi Alyshia,

      Both versions of the interpretation can be used, depending on what the “it” refers to.

      The difference is reflected in the “limusontela” and cilemusontela.”
      Different prefixes refine the reference to the subject: li…, ci…, fi…., tu….,ba….., etc.

      • Oh, okay I understand now. In the phrase, the “it” refers to something that is drawing you in a certain direction or calling to you….maybe a feeling.

        In this case, which prefix do you think would be more appropriate?

        Also, is the correct spelling for both: lilemusontela and cilemusontela? I think I spelled them incorrectly in the first message.

        Thank you so much for helping me with this translation. I greatly appreciate it!

        • Alyshia,
          Different emotions have different prefixes. Examples:
          Envy = Akaso (Wikonka uko akaso kalekusontela = Don’t follow the direction your envy is pointing you)
          Joy = Insansa (Konka uko insansa shobe shilekusontela)
          Sorrow = Ubulanda (Mona uko ubulanda bulekusontela)
          Exasperation = Icifukushi (Mona uko icifukushi chobe cilekusontela)

          Other words are similarly dependent on the prefix:
          Luck = Ishuko (Mona uko ishuko lilekusontela)
          etc.

          Finally, lilemusontela and cilemusontela are correct.
          Lilekusontela (singular), Lilemusontela (Plural), Cilekusontela (sing.) and Cilemusontela (pl.).

          I hope this helps to clarify the explanation.

    • Hi Alena,
      “Ninshi mulecita?” is “What are you doing?” – (plural/respectful)
      “Ala cikawama” = “It will be good/nice”
      “Nga twamonana” = “When/if we meet.”

    • Sara,
      You can say
      “Thank you for being a friend” = “Ndetasha wecibusa candi”
      “for listening” = “Ulamposako amano ngandeshimikaka ilyashi”
      “and for your advice” = “No kumpandako amano”
      “You are a good friend to me” = “Uli cibusa wacine”

  2. I lived in Mporokoso for 1 year and the young men in the market would compliment my work partner on her upper leg of thighs. They were being playful with her at the time but I’ve completely forgotten the term they used. What might that word have been?

  3. i would like to find the proper bemba transalation for the traditional barter system based on exchange commodities based what i have is called Amakau ( things to barter) also what is correct bemba translation for Gifts of the heart or passion ( one’s natural passion)

  4. Good morning.
    Could you please translate these sentences for me?
    “Konse uko,naba kusha ulweko iwe”
    “ba lusaka ta bonfwa bale fwaya na ma sisters babo”
    “Eku mwabo? ule konka naiwe boi”

    And is there any possibility to get full version of online dictionary?

    Thank you very much. A.K.

    • Hi Alena,
      “Konse uko” sounds like a question in this context, meaning “All that?”
      “Nabakusha ulweko iwe” = “You have been left high and dry” (Abandoned)
      “Ba Lusaka tabonfwa” = People from Lusaka (or a person called Lusaka)are naughty.
      “Balefwaya nama sisters babo” = “They are even hitting on their own sisters”
      “Eku mwabo?” = “Is that his/her home?”
      “Ule konka naiwe boi” = Depending on the emphasis on “Ule”, this can mean “You should follow him/her, my friend” or it can mean “You have to follow him/her, my friend”.

      You can get the Full English-Bemba Dictionary on Smashwords: http://bit.ly/KOL_Dictionary

  5. Hi

    I posted this question in reply to a reply, but did not get an answer. Maybe this will work…?

    Thanks for the previous translations! You’re a great help. I still have some words I am not sure about when I consult the dictionary:

    free, the adj. (as in I am free)
    flow, the noun (as in a flow)
    live, the verbe (as in I live)
    And:
    Is mumana (stream) the noun or the verbe? I am interested in the verbe.
    Is shibula (awake) the adj. or the verbe? I am interested in the adj.?
    Is pindulula (change) the noun or the verbe? I am interested in the noun.

    Thanks again,
    Madeleine

    • Hi Madeleine,

      Sorry, your query slipped in under the radar.

      Free (adj) = Lubuka
      “I am free” = “Nalilubuka”

      Flow (noun) = Mulonga (singular), Milonga (plural)

      Live (verb) = Ikala
      “I live in Kitwe” = Njikala mu Kitwe
      “We live in Kitwe” = Twikala mu Kitwe
      He / She lives in Kitwe = Ekala mu Kitwe
      They live in Kitwe = Bekala mu Kitwe

      Stream (noun) = Mumana
      Stream (verb) / Current = Mulonga

      Shibusha (verb) = Waken
      Shibuka (adjective) = Awake

      Pindulula (verb) = Change something
      Pinduluka (noun) = Undergo change

    • Hi Mdeleine,
      “Conscious living” = “Ubwikalo bwa maano”
      “(My) true self” = “Ine wine”
      “(Your) true self” = “Iwe wine”
      “Now” = “Nomba”
      “Nowadays” = “Shino nshiku”, “Muno nshiku”
      “Everything flows” = “Fyonse filapita”

      • Hi

        Thanks for the previous translations! You’re a great help. I still have some words I am not sure about when I consult the dictionary:

        free, the adj. (as in I am free)
        flow, the noun (as in a flow)
        live, the verbe (as in I live)
        And:
        Is mumana (stream) the noun or the verbe? I am interested in the verbe.
        Is shibula (awake) the adj. or the verbe? I am interested in the adj.?
        Is pindulula (change) the noun or the verbe? I am interested in the noun.

        Thanks again,
        Madeleine

    • Hi Trevor,
      Thanks for your interest in the dictionary. You are the lucky winner of a free copy for November. When I tried to send it to you on the email address you provided, it was not possible. Please send me the correct address and I will mail your FREE copy.

  6. What do the words of this song mean?

    Bana baka ntwa maela nkalala pi mamilambo
    mumilambo bana baka ntwa maela (not sure about the spelling)
    Any help would be wonderful :)

    • Hi Simon,
      We have asked around but could not get an answer for you. We have no idea what it means.
      We’ll keep looking.
      If one of our readers has some idea, perhaps they will tell us what the song means.

    • Julian,
      “Listening to the Great Teacher” = “Ukukutika kuli Kafundisha Mukalamba.”

      The translation depends on who is involved as well as the tense. Here are a few examples:

      “I am listening to the Great Teacher” = “Ndekutika kuli Kafundisha Mukalamba”
      “I was listening to the Great Teacher” = “Nalekutika kuli Kafundisha Mukalamba”
      “He/She is listening to the Great Teacher” = “Alekutika kuli Kafundisha Mukalamba” (singular), “Balekutika kuli Kafundisha Mukalamba” (plural)

    • Hi Andrea,
      Thanks for dropping by. We look forward to your active participation in the lessons.
      Send in your short phrases and sentences. We will do our best to translate them.
      You can also send suggestions about what lessons you would like to see.

    • Hi Chileshe,
      Thanks for your comments.
      “Purpose” can generally be translated as “Umulandu.”
      This is a word that can be used in different ways. It is easier to determine if it’s the best word when used in a particular sentence.

  7. You've done an admirable job typing up all these translations. But don't you think you should acknowledge what I assume is the original source? You seem to follow Rev Hock's dictionary very closely.

    • Alice,
      Thanks for your comment.
      Rev. Hock’s dictionary along with The White Fathers’ Bemba-English dictionary are the two long standing works in this field. We have acknowledged Rev. Hock’s dictionary in the ebook version of our dictionary.
      Our emphasis is on the commonly spoken version of Bemba on the Copperbelt and along the line of rail in Zambia. This is heavily influenced by other languages (Lamba, Ushi, English, e.t.c.). Technological terms provide another challenge that we have only begun to address.

  8. Hi
     
    thanks for your efforts!
     
    surely soon i will go to live to Zambia,at least for a huge amount of time,so please,can you translate me that into bemba?
    ''i miss you my sister,i really want to meet you''
     
    thanks in advance
     
    p.s.just one more question,why i can only scroll to 'medicine',and not more words in the 'm'?

    • Dr Ntumba,
      Thanks for your suggestion.
      You will be pleased to note our latest article is on Zambian marriage ceremonies.
      We hope to cover much more Zambian culture in future.

    • Hi Kudah,
      Thanks for your appreciation of KitweOnline.
      The KitweOnline Dictionary will soon be available in print.
      You can also get a dictionary from Amazon.

  9. How do you say (to someone you have just met/polite)…
    -please help us
    -come
    -follow me
    -he is your husband
    -he is not my husband
    -he is sick
    -eat now
    -sleep now
    -my house
    -my family
    -he will help you
    -thank you
    -God bless you
    (can you email me back with the answers?)

    • Come = Isa (singular), Iseni (plural)
      Follow me = Nkonka (s), Nkonkeni (p)
      He is your husband = Mûlume obe (s), Bâlume benu (p)
      He is not my husband = Temulume wandi (s), Tebalume bandi (p)
      He is sick = Mûlwele (s), Bâlwele (p)
      Eat now = Lya nombaline (s), Lyeni nombaline (p)
      Sleep now = Sendama nombaline (s), Sendameni nombaline (p)
      My house = Iɧanda yandi
      My family = Ulupwa lwandi
      He will help you = Alâmwafwilisha (s), Balâmwafwilisha (p)
      Thank you = Natôtela (s), Twatôtela (p)
      God bless you = Lesa akupâle (s), Lesa amupâle (p)

  10. Hello, can u translate:
    Hello brother, I started to study a little Bemba but just want to say that I miss u and all my brothers. Please say a little prayer for my daddy that is in the hospital had a minor surgery but hasn’t got out. Take care n lots of love

    Thank you

    • “Hello brother, I started to study a little Bemba but just want to say that I miss you and all my brothers” = “We ndume, ndesambilila icibemba lelo ndefwaya fye ukukwishibisha ukuti ndekufuluka, pamo naba munyina bonse.”

      “Please say a little prayer for my daddy that is in the hospital had a minor surgery but hasn’t got out. Take care and lots of love.” = “Ndekulomba ulempepelako ba tata abacili mucipatala umo baile babombela, tabalati bafume. Wikale uwaicingilila we citemwikwa.”

  11. Please translate this for me into bemba:

    I long to have you by my side always

    To feel the warmth of your touch and embrace

    I hope to see you soon because I really miss you.

    • “I long to have you by my side always” = “Nkabila ukuba mupepi naiwe lyonse”
      “To feel the warmth of your touch and embrace” = “Ukumfwa icikabilila chobe ilyo wankumya noku nkumbatila”
      “I hope to see you soon because I really miss you” = “Nde tetekela nkakumona panshita inono pantu ndekufuluka sana.”

  12. Hello

    Im struggling to access the online English to Bemba dictionary, would it be possible to translate the following into Bemba for me please:

    “Just look around you” / “Just look around”

    Thanks
    _______________

    “Just look around” = “Mona” (“Moneni” – plural)

    (Editor)

  13. Hi Colletta,

    There are certainly some terms for which there is no direct translation into Bemba. The context may help to circumnavigate this difficulty.

    If the request is in form of a complete sentence, it is much easier to work on a helpful translation.

    Send us your piece and we will give you a feedback on what we can do with it. If you don’t mind posting it here, let us know and we can post it so that other readers can help translate it.

  14. I enjoyed you web page. Dilema I have is that a Nigerian friend has asked me to translate for him a document from Bemba to English as part of his assignment programme.

    I’m stuck as there are words like attrition and retention, participant, sustainability.

  15. What is good night my love in Bemba.Help me to also help myself how do i access a complete dictionary so i dont always have to log on for translations

    • Hi Tumie,
      “Goodnight my love” = “Sendamo mutende wecitemwikwa candi.”

      You can click on the image of the dictionary above in order to access a sample of the complete dictionary. You can also purchase the complete dictionary on Smashwords.com

  16. Hi
     
    Many thanks for this excellent dictionary. I have a stupid question though..what are the words in the third and fourth columns? Thanks.

    • Thanks for your kind comments. We believe there is no such thing as stupid questions – only stupid answers.
      The words in the second and third columns are alternative words that mean the same thing.
      When we get round to the Bemba-English dictionary, for instance, it will show:
      SHITA (Bemba word) with BUY (2nd column) and PURCHASE (3rd column)

  17. A very big thank you to those that have put in the hard work.
    I look forward to seeing the G-Z section completed.
    I passed through Kitwe and must compliment you on a lovely city.

    • Hi, Thanks for your enquiry. The dictionary is being added to on a weekly basis. This week we will be adding the words starting with the letter “E”. The slow progress has been due to a shortage of man/woman power. We’ll get to “Z” soon.

  18. Hello,
    some years ago I´ve lived in Zambia and I´ve learned a bit Bemba, but never how to write it. I am searching for the Bemba translation of "we" and "us". I know the word but not the correct spelling.
    I would be so thankful if you could help me.
    Greetings Melissa

    • Hi Melissa,
      “We” and “us” are personal pronouns that overlap in Bemba.

      We = Ifwe (pronounced “if” + “way”: ifway) / Tu (pronounced “too”)
      Us = Ifwe / tu

      Examples:
      We are coming tonight = “Tuleisa mu cungulo (early night)” or “Tuleisa ubushiku.” (late night)
      We have come = “Twaisa” or “Tuleisa”
      We want = “Tulefwaya”
      We can do this = “Kuti twacita ici”
      We are going (to a place) = “Tuleya”
      We will go = “Tukaya”
      We are going to (do) = “Tuka….”

      Among us = “Muli ifwe”
      Give us = “Tupeni”
      Belongs to us = “Yesu”
      It is us = “Nifwe” (pronounced “knee”+”foo” + “way”)
      It is not us =”Tefwe”

      These are only some examples we hope will be useful. If you have specific phrases in mind, please let us know.

      P/S Are you the Melissa who has posted those nice Youtube videos of Kitwe?